Northwest Indiana Real Estate Remodeling Tips

The kitchen is one area of the home that sees the most wear and tear. All the water, heat, and food spills add up quickly so it’s important to focus on quality and lasting appeal when you’re choosing materials for a kitchen remodel. Here are a few things you should avoid:

Cheap Laminate Countertops: The bottom rung of laminate is extremely susceptible to wear and tear. It can melt if you forget to place a hot pad under a pan that’s fresh out of the oven and the edges can chip off from repeated exposure to moisture and heat.

Flat Paint: A flat or matte finish is great in rooms with lower traffic, but it’s a bad idea in the kitchen where the walls are regularly exposed to splatters and spills. You need paint that can withstand an occasional heavy scrubbing, so opt for gloss or semi-gloss finishes.

Trendy Backsplash: If you watch any home remodeling show, you’ll certainly see kitchens with expensive, elaborate backsplash designs and materials. Those trends can be pricey to pursue and can look dated in a hurry. Subway tile is a cheaper, classic option that you’ll never regret, plus you’ll have more room in your budget to purchase quality materials to be used elsewhere.

Cheap Flooring: Just like the countertops, your kitchen floor needs to be strong enough to take some abuse. Cheap flooring easily scuffs and peels (especially from moisture). Quality flooring is worth the investment.


Dec. 11, 2017

3 Questions To Ask Before Buying Your 1st Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The real estate market is constantly changing, so of course DO YOUR RESEARCH! DO NOT jump the gun on this one! Unbiased advice from family and peers may be kind, but you are the only one who knows what your needs are when it comes to buying a home.
 

WHAT MADE YOU CONSIDER OWNING A HOME?

Forget finances for a minute and focus on what made you consider even buying a home in the first place!

·      Is your family expanding?

·      Does your family feel safe?

·      Is there a STELLAR school system in the area so your     children can get the education they deserve?

·      How about that unbearable landlord?
 

WHICH WAY IS THE REAL ESTATE MARKET GOING?

DON’T SLEEP ON YOUR DECISION TOO LONG! Home prices are on the rise! Not only are they on their way back up, but these increases are happening monthly.

Don’t believe us? According to Existing Homes Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average price of homes in May 2017 went up 5.8% from last year.

If you wait until next year to buy, you might be scrapping for change in the cushions to say the least! Not only will it cost you more to buy, but you will also need to increase your down payment to account for the higher price of the home.

 

WHAT IS THE MORTGAGE FORECAST?

The initial process of purchasing your home may seem easy and quick, but THERE IS MORE TOO IT! The ‘long term cost’ of buying a home WILL haunt you if you buy at the wrong time! Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and NAR have projected that mortgage interest rates will DEFINITLEY increase over the next twelve months. The smallest increase in mortgage rates can have a huge impact on a home owner.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

If you and your family feel it is the right time to buy a home then GO FOR IT! Consider these points when making the final decision.

Don’t forget, this move is FOR YOU!

 
 
Posted in Buying
Dec. 5, 2017

Choosing The Right Paint Finish!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready to paint your home? Be sure to use the right finishes in each room and feature to make the best impact in your home. Using the wrong finishes can backfire for home owners if the wrong ones are used in the wrong spaces. Below, you'll find the most common finishes and recommendations on where they are best applied to.

- PAINT FINISHES - 

Flat is a low-sheen paint with a non-reflective finish that touches up well and hides minor surface imperfections.  It's ideal for low traffic areas, interior walls and ceilings.

Matte has a low luster reflective finish that is durable, easy to clean, touches up well, and also hides minor surface imperfections. It is great for low to moderate traffic areas, such as bedrooms, and interior walls.

Eggshell Enamel has a soft, velvety appearance and is a good choice for moderate traffic areas such as living rooms.

Satin Enamel if you desire a pearl-like appearance, and are painting moderate to high traffic areas or areas that have some exposure to moisture, such as kitchens.

Semi-Gloss Enamel if you desire a sleek, radiant sheen that is great from cabinets and trim, high-traffic areas and high-moisture areas.

Hi-Gloss Enamel creates a brilliant, shiny appearance with a glass-like finish. This is great for high-use surfaces

 
Posted in Market Trends
Nov. 27, 2017

Cyber Monday

         

Cyber Monday has become a great way to avoid the crowds of Black Friday. You can even shop while you’re at work! (As long as your boss doesn’t catch you! LOL)

It’s also a great way to find some deals.

Who doesn’t want a deal!?

The Internet has also changed how people look for real estate. It’s made finding the perfect home quite easy — the minute it comes on the market.

But actually getting the house isn’t as easy as just clicking a button and heading to the next screen to checkout.

Beyond that, if you’re looking for a real estate deal, there’s going to be others who are looking as well.

Houses aren’t like mass-produced products we buy for presents. They are one-of-a-kind. They are limited. So when they’re a “deal”….

…it’s important to be ready to jump. And even then, you’ll probably be competing against other offers.

The real trick to finding (and actually getting) a real estate deal is to look through the ones that aren’t obvious deals.

And that’s not easy for the untrained eye to see.

Luckily, I have a well-trained eye! (I sent it to obedience school.)

So, when you’re looking for a great real estate deal, don’t just look at the obvious deals. Look deeper.

More importantly, have me looking as well. Because there’s a good chance I’ll see something you’d probably overlook.

 

Christina Fieldhouse   (219)713-9244

Posted in Buying
Oct. 31, 2017

5653 Walter Avenue, Hammond, IN

 

Property Description

Great Income Property!! 3 Units total. 2 Larger units have 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. 3rd unit 1 bedroom and 3/4 bath. Separate utilities and appliances for all units. Appliances include refrigerator and range for all units. Washer and Dryer in basement. Second lot used for parking.

List Price

 

$79,900

MLS#

415358

Lot Size

5200

County 

Lake

Listing Type

Multifamily

Year Built

1910

Units

3

Acres

0.12

Amenities

Barrier Fee Access, Laundry/Common

Association

Greater Northern Indiana AR

Multiple Listing Service

Greater Northwest Indiana MLS

Property Type

Multi Unit/Income

Status
ACTIVE
Total Baths

3

Total Bedrooms
5
Total Full Baths
2
Total num of Rooms

11

Total Sq. Ft.

2796

 

Posted in Listings
Oct. 31, 2017

9501 Fran Lin Parkway, Munster, IN

Property Description

CHECK out the NEW pictures!! WONDERFUL 3 bedroom, 1.75 bathroom QUAD in highly desirable FAIRMEADOWS subdivision in MUNSTER. Original owner METICULOUSLY maintained and loved this home since it was CUSTOM built. REMODELED kitchen with CORIAN counters, new floors and NEWER appliances. Original HARDWOOD floors in living room, dining room and ALL 3 bedrooms, stairs, and hallway. Lower level BOASTS gas fireplace, REMODELED bathroom and has water access for a WET BAR. Use the BASEMENT as you wish-office, den, exercise room, play room........Laundry room has PLENTY of shelves for storage. LARGE corner lot with a FENCED in paver BRICK patio makes this the PERFECT yard for entertaining! DETACHED 2.5 car garage with CUSTOM built shelving and OVERHEAD storage perfect for storing LAWN and WINTER items. Brand NEW roof, new WATER heater, newer VINYL siding, newer matching GARAGE door and LIGHT POSTS and so MUCH more. WHOLE house recently PAINTED!! Call for YOUR appointment!

List Price:

 

$269,500

 

Price Change:

? $10,400 20 days ago

MLS#:

421473                                           

Bedrooms:

3

Bathrooms:

1.75

Living Sq. Ft:

2,342

Lot Size:

10074

County:

Lake

Listing Type:

Single Family Residential                                           

Design:

Quad Level                                           

Year Built:

1969

 Rooms:

 Bonus Room: Recreation Room, Bonus Room: Laundry, Bonus Room: , Family Room: Lower Level, Dining Room: Main Level, Main Bedroom: Upper Level, 2nd Bedroom: Upper Level, 3rd Bedroom: Upper Level, Living Room: Main Level, Kitchen: Main Level

 

Property Features:

Septic, Municipal Water, Well, Central Air, Grade-Lev Walkout Bsm, Sewer, Basement

Acres:

0.23

Appliances:

 

Dishwasher -Built-In, Gas Range -Built In, Refrigerator

Association:

 

Greater Northern Indiana AR

Equipment:

 

Cable TV Hookup, Electric Air Cleaner, Furnace Humidifier, Roof Vent Fan, Satellite Dish, Sump Pump, Whole House Fan

Exterior:

 

Brick, Vinyl

Exterior Features:

 

Barrier Free Access, Fenced Yard, Gas Grill, In Ground Sprinklers, Patio

Interior Features:Barrier Free Access, Country Kitchen, Formal Dining Room, FP Lower Level, Wet Bar, Other

 

Garage Description:

 

Detached, Garage Door Opener, Off Street Parking, Side Drive

Garage num of Cars:

2.5

 

Heat System:

Forced Air

 

Main Bedroom:

12.60x12.80

 

2nd Bedroom

11.70x8.10

3rd Bedroom:

 

11.70x12.70

 

Addl. Room 1 Size:

 

22.40x15.10 Level: Basement

Addl. Room 2 Size:8.70x23.70 Level: Basement

 

                                             

Posted in Listings
Oct. 31, 2017

9741 Laurel Court, Munster, IN

Property Description

GORGEOUS 5 bedroom 3.5 bathroom home on a privately fenced cul de sac lot is filled with luxury amenities. Main level master has a tray ceiling, large attached office/nursery, fabulous bath /whirlpool & separate shower. Wood floors & a 2 story brick fplc in the great room open to the gourmet kitchen adorned with granite counters, maple cabinets, cooktop grill, stainless appliances, pantry & extra large eating area that leads to the deck near the 12 person hot tub in a private Tiki hut! Upstairs there are 4 spacious bedrooms, one w/vaulted ceiling & one which is multi-leveled. All custom window blinds, 2 furnace & air units, custom woodwork, brushed nickel hardware, professional landscaping, concrete siding & more! Entertainer's dream in the basement has a private theater w/2 tiered seating, 7 speakers, projection system, custom built bar & more. All 5 bedrooms have brand new wood flooring, there is a new whole house generator, and rooms have been professionally painted. Must see!

List Price:$600,000

 

MLS#:

418943

 

Bedrooms:

5

 

Bathrooms:

3.5

 

Living Sq. Ft:

5,742

 

Lot Size:

14250

 

County:

Lake

 

Listing Type:

Single Family Residential

 

Design:

1.5 Sty/Cape Cod

 

Year Built:

2004

Rooms:

Bonus Room: 5th Bedroom, Bonus Room: Office, Bonus Room: Other, Family Room: Basement Level, Dining Room: Main Level, Main Bedroom: Main Level, 2nd Bedroom: Upper Level, 3rd Bedroom: Upper Level, 4th Bedroom: Upper Level, Living Room: Main Level, Kitchen: Main Level

 

Property Features:

Septic, Municipal Water, Well, Central Air, Grade-Lev Walkout Bsm, Sewer, Basement

 

Acres:

0.33

 

Appliances:

Dishwasher -Built-In, Dryer, Gas Range -Built In, Microwave, Refrigerator, Washer

 

Association:

Greater Northern Indiana AR

 

Equipment:

Cable TV Hookup, Electric Air Cleaner, Furnace Humidifier, Sump Pump

 

Exterior:

Brick, Other

 

Exterior Features:

Barrier Free Access, Covered Porch, Deck, Fenced Yard, Gazebo, Hot Tub, In Ground Sprinklers, Landscape Lighting

 

Interior Features:

Cath/Vault Ceilings, Country Kitchen, Den/Office, Dry Bar, Finished Laundry Rm, Formal Dining Room, FP Living/Great Room, Great Room, Main Bedroom Bath, Main Floor Bathroom, Main Floor Bedroom, Main Floor Laundry, Whirlpool Tub

 

Garage Description:

Attached, Garage Door Opener, Off Street Parking

 

Garage num of Cars:

3.0

 

Heat System:

Forced Air

 

Heat Type:

Natural Gas

Grade School:

Frank Hammond

Junior High School:

Wilbur Wright

High School:

Munster

Annual Tax Amount:

9389

Multiple Listing Service:

Greater Northwest Indiana MLS

Possible Financing:

Cash, Conventional, FHA, Insured Conventional, VA

Property Type:

Residential

Tax Year:

2016

Total Fireplaces:

1

Utilities:

On

 

Posted in Listings
Oct. 30, 2017

The Joy Of Owning A Home

If you haven't bought a home yet, you're missing out on a wonderful feeling! That moment when you walk through your doors, throw your purse or keys on the floor, plop down on your couch and breathe a sigh of relief while thinking, "Finally, it's ours (or mine)!" And the joy of looking at all of your boxes, getting to roll your eyes about why you buy so much stuff, then giving yourself a moment to take a nap because you worked hard to get here and earned it! Yes that's a real feeling!

We often hear, and read, about the cost effectiveness of home ownership. The equity build-up, the freedom it can give us from finances in our retirement years, and a plethora of other ways owning a home can be a positive impact on your bottom dollar. But we don't often hear about the emotional impact owning a home can have. Yes there will be days the fridge is acting silly and you need to call your home warranty, or days you have to get outside to mow your own yard, but nothing beats the pride and joy of owning a home. 

There is a sense of security, and a sense of "this is mine and I worked my way up to this moment," that provides moments of bliss. The ability to do with your home as you please, not pay a pretty penny for every member of your fur family, and the privacy it provides can't be beat.

Home ownership also gives you the ability to put down some roots. And we mean that figuratively and literally. You get to build memories through the holidays and go through many milestones with your family, that leave a significant impact into the later years. You also get to build bonds with your neighbors, and grow in a community oriented neighborhood. With rentals, people come and go annually, but there are deeper roots planted with building relationships with those living next to you. Potlucks, 4th of July and New Year's Eve spent lighting fireworks, and just the excitement of getting to know each other and build new relationships. 

Buying a home isn't about the dollars and cents for everyone, sometimes it's just about the joy of owning your own place, and getting to build amazing memories in it. If you've been longing for this, get in touch with a real estate agent, and make it happen. You owe it to yourself to make your dreams come true!

Posted in Buying
Oct. 17, 2017

Fall Leaves Bring Sold Signs

   

Summer has come to an end and you probably are thinking you've lost the opportunity to sell, and need to wait till next summer. But that's far from the truth! Although it's not as hectic and crazy with the swarm of buyers on the market, the fall season brings out the most serious of lookers. They are the pool of buyers that waited out the summer frenzy to find their perfect home in the fall, and you don't want to miss these buyers! They are ready to make a move, today! And selling in a slower period does not equate to less money. That's a misconception that home owners have based on untrue data that floats around. With the right agent, and your home being priced correctly, you can get a great deal selling your home during the fall season. And might actually prefer it. Here are the top 3 benefits to listing during the fall season.

1. Serious Buyers - Let's be honest, if buyers are out during the busy season, looking for homes, they are serious and ready to buy. Although the summer brings in a large crowd, that crowd contains a lot of people that are excited by the season, and fall into the "trend" of house hunting. These people end up not really being serious about the process, and tend to hold off for another time. If people are investing time to look during the fall season, they are more likely to be interested in actually buying your home, instead of touring it.

2. Less Competition - Selling in the fall isn't something many families can accomplish due to personal schedules. That's why a significant amount of homes get listed during the summer season. Which means that summer time brings in a lot of competition. Selling in the fall means the potential house next door that has slightly more perks that may have been listed during the summer, doesn't make your home sit stagnant, since everyone wanted your neighbor's house. It also doesn't devalue your home because of the house that could go up next door that could be under-priced in your neighborhood, and draw all of the attention.

With a slower season, you get dedicated attention to your property, which increases the chance of a sale. 

3. Easier to Find Your Dream Home - Not only do you get to benefit from a slower season during the selling process, but you can also benefit on the buying side. With less competition on your dream house, you can get a better deal. The summer brings a lot of missed opportunities for buyers on their dream homes, because they go off the market instantly. This will give you the opportunity to get your home on the market and take your time to find the right one to resize into. A much calmer pace to the transaction will make it less stressful, and everyone all around happier. Don't feel rushed into buying a home overnight during the summer, it could turn into a headache. If you want a far more peaceful transaction, that has calmer pace, then selling during the fall is perfect for you.

Posted in Buying
Aug. 14, 2017

Debunking Myths to Home Buying

 

Debunking Myths To Home Buying

 

Finally ready to make the transition into home ownership? That's awesome, and in this exciting time you can be turning to friends and family for an insight into the process. However, there seems to be a circulation of misinformation spreading around, so we're here to clear up a few myths. 

1. THE FIRST STEP IS SEARCHING FOR A HOME

You know the saying, "Don't put the cart before the horse," well that's important to remember when it comes to buying a home. You don't want to start looking for a house until you have gotten to sit down with a lender and discuss what the bank will qualify you for. If you fall in love with a house that's $250,000 and come to find out you're only qualified for $200,000 you can get your hopes crushed and waste a lot of time. Don't start the process on the wrong foot and make sure the numbers line up.

2. YOU DON'T NEED A REAL ESTATE AGENT

For starts, when buying a home, 99% of the time the buyer's agent gets paid by the sellers. That random 1% can be for odd circumstances. So you're getting to use the services of a real estate agent for free. Having a real estate agent on your side means you'll get to see homes that aren't as readily available on public searches, you avoid outdated listings and scammers (there are lots of them), and you have protection when it comes to navigating the legalities of contracts and buying a home. Why wouldn't you want an awesome negotiator working to ensure you get the best from the transaction? For FREE!

3. YOU CAN'T BUY A HOME WITH BAD CREDIT

Fortunately for some, this is a myth. Lenders and banks come by the hundreds of thousands and all though there are a few loan options, a lot of lenders can work with credit scores down to the low to mid 500's. Get in touch with an agent to help you connect with the right lender who can help you potentially approved. There is a lot of factors that go into approvals, but your credit doesn't have to be a sore thumb during the process. However, you will be doing yourself a favor if you connect with a credit repair specialist to at least get those numbers in the 600's. A better score will lower you interest rate.

4. YOUR DOWN PAYMENT HAS TO BE 20%

Think you have to sell an arm and a leg to buy a home? Not at all! An FHA loan only requires 3.5% while a conventional only requires 5%. There are a lot of programs that can potentially help you with down payment assistance or be 0% down mortgage. USDA and VA loans are the most popular 0% down programs. If you qualify, this can take a big chunk off the amount of cash you have to bring to the closing table. 

5. DOWN PAYMENTS ARE THE ONLY UPFRONT COST

This is one of the biggest misconceptions. There is a lot of cost that goes into buying a home, and that includes upfront costs. One of the mandatory ones are a termite and appraisal. If you are getting a mortgage, the home will have to appraise and get a letter stating there are no termites in the home. Termite can range between $25-$75 dollars. An appraisal can range from $300-$700 dollars. Aside from your down payment, you then have to pay for closing costs. And NO, they are not the same thing. Closing costs can range anywhere between 3-6% of the purchase price. In certain markets, this can be negotiated for sellers to cover by rolling into the offer price, but whether that decision is smart to do or not when it comes to landing your dream home will need to be discussed with your agent.

Now that you have some knowledge to get the process started, get in touch with an agent who will help you get through the process as smoothly as possible.

Posted in Buying
Aug. 3, 2016

Top 4 Deal Killers for Homebuyers

Falling in love is exhilarating. It can also be a bit scary, especially when a home has captured your heart. What if something goes wrong and you end up not spending the rest of your life with this stack of brick and mortar you're lusting after?

No matter how careful you are, some deal killers are unavoidable. Others, however, are preventable, so pay heed if you hope to keep your deal alive.

1. Don't Mess with Your Mortgage Preapproval

A common reason for a real estate deal to fall apart is that many homebuyers don't fully understand the mortgage process. Sure, you may get a loan preapproval, but don't think for one minute that this guarantees you will get the loan. It doesn't.

Here's what happens after you receive your preapproval letter and decide to move forward with the purchase. The lender will start your file, give you a list of paperwork required, order an appraisal and credit reports, verify your employment and income, and more.

The file is then sent to the processor who will review all of your information as well as the appraisal. He or she will then put together a package of all pertinent information to be sent to the underwriter.

The underwriter is the person who ultimately determines whether or not you are an acceptable credit risk. He or she will assess your ability to repay the loan, your credit, and the collateral used to secure the mortgage - in this case the collateral is the home. Then, just before funding the loan, the underwriter will perform what is known as a "soft pull" of your credit information to see if anything has changed.

This is the point where many borrowers run afoul. If you hope to keep your purchase alive, don't do anything - from application to closing - that might change your financial picture and sabotage your final approval. This means no shopping on credit for appliances, furniture or anything else. Don't switch jobs, fall behind on your bills, co-sign a loan for anyone, or in any way reduce the income stated on your application.

2. Read Homeowners Association Documents Carefully

When you purchase a home in a managed community governed by a homeowners association (HOA), you'll be given a mountain of paperwork to read and approve. Because there may be deal killers included in the fine print, it's important to get to this task immediately upon receipt of the documents.

Look for any information about liens against the property; current litigation against the HOA, the builder, or the developer; and any red flags in the HOA budget. Since these documents aren't easy to read and understand, it is worth the money you'll spend to have your attorney look them over and advise you of any potential deal killers lurking within.

While the aforementioned HOA problems could potentially derail the deal, it's better to have it happen upfront rather than when you're further along in the process.

3. Home Inspection Problems

All homes - even newly constructed ones - may have problems. Going into the process not fully understanding this can set you up for a failed real estate deal. Sure, you ideally want to find a home that was owned by Mr. or Mrs. Clean who conscientiously took care of it during their entire ownership, but those are few and far between, and seeking them out is unrealistic.

Set your sites on finding a home that has small, easy-to-fix problems, and don't freak out if some are worse than others. In other words, when considering making an offer, laugh at the loose doorknob but negotiate when it comes to water damage or worse.

The nitpicky homebuyer, who plans on nickel and diming the homeowner into replacing missing switch plates and dripping faucets, is the picture of a deal-breaker-in-the-making. Sure, in a buyer's market you may get away with minor demands. In a seller's market, however, there is always a cleaner offer right behind yours.

4. Budgeting Blunders

The real estate industry does a bang-up job of reminding homebuyers that they'll need a down payment - typically from 3 percent to 20 percent of the total loan amount - when they purchase a home. What they often fail to inform real estate consumers about are the loan's closing costs - the money you will be required to pay before the house is yours. This is most likely because closing costs are a little harder to pin down. They vary wildly and depend on the type of loan, the amount of the down payment, and a host of other factors.

Unfortunately, this lack of information frequently causes real estate deals to disintegrate. To avoid this particular problem, pay attention to all communications from your lender.

First, you will receive a form called a Loan Estimate. Look this over carefully to ensure that everything your lender agreed to is included. Pay close attention to the "Calculating Cash to Close" section, which concludes with an estimated cost to close the loan. Remember, this is an estimate and the amount may go higher or lower in the end. Speak with the lender if you find any problems here, especially if it will be impossible for you to come up with this money.

Just before closing you will receive the "Closing Disclosure," which is quite similar to the estimate, but these figures are final. Again, review the "Cash to Close" figure.

By and large, real estate deals conclude successfully. Typically, it all comes down to the experience of your agent. Choose wisely and you'll avoid the common pitfalls that can derail transactions. For a smooth, low-stress real estate transaction, slow down, keep your expectations realistic and heed the advice of your real estate agent or attorney.

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Posted in Buying